La Doctrina Stowers: ¿Qué es una Demanda de Stowers?

Carta de demandaA La demanda de Stowers is a time-sensitive demand sent to a third-party insurance carrier that offers to settle the claim against their insured for an amount that is within the insured’s insurance policy limits when liability is certain and the value of the claim exceeds the limits of the insured’s policy. Typically, it is sent in the form of a written demand letter in such a way that receipt can be documented and proven.

Historia de la demanda de Stowers

El origen de la demanda de Stowers se remonta a una opinión emitida en 1929 en el GA Stowers Furniture Co. contra American Indemnity, Co., 15 S.W.2d 544 (Tex.). In that case a vehicle collided with a horse-drawn carriage. The non-negligent party, served upon the Stowers Defendants a letter giving them an opportunity to settle within their policy limits. The letter gave a set time period in which to accept and offered proof of the excessive damages. Their insurance company, American Indemnity, Co., refused to settle and went to trial to try to save money. They lost. As a result, the insured (GA Stowers) sued the company alleging they had an obligation to settle and protect the insured in that situation.

The Texas Supreme Court held that an insurance adjuster and his company are “held to that degree of care and diligence which a man of ordinary care and diligence would exercise in the management of his own business.” This created a new cause of action under which insurers could be held liable for the negligent failure to settle their insured’s claim when a reasonable adjuster would do so if conducting his own affairs.

¿Qué se requiere para que la demanda de Stowers sea válida?

While no specific form has been laid out, there are several Texas Court opinions on what it takes for a Stowers demand to trigger the above duty. Liability must be clear. Further, there must be clear terms under which the demand can be accepted and reasonable time limitations under which to evaluate the claim. Lastly, there must be an offer to fully and finally release the insured from liability. Once the Stowers Demand is done properly, then you must go down, try the case and win an excess verdict. Then and only then, can you attempt to enforce the excess judgment against the insurance company.

El requisito de responsabilidad clara

In order for a Stowers Demand to be valid, liability for an amount equal to their policy limit in the case needs to be “reasonably clear.” If there is significant room for argument about who is at fault or whether the defendant was “negligent,” you will have a hard time making a Stowers demand stick. Ultimately, the standard that the adjuster’s actions will be judged by is “would a reasonable adjuster have paid the policy limits under the circumstances?” The less clear liability is, the harder it is to jump this hurdle.

Por el contrario, cuanto mayores sean los daños, menos importante es esto. Por ejemplo: si es probable que los daños justifiquen un veredicto de 40,000 pero la política es solo 30,000 y la responsabilidad es incierta, lo que significa que los daños podrían reducirse en un porcentaje de negligencia del demandante, su demanda de Stowers es mucho menos probable que se mantenga. que si sus daños son claramente millones y solo existe una política 30 con la posibilidad de una división de negligencia. Recuerde, la pregunta es, ¿un ajustador razonable aceptaría una oferta para resolver el reclamo si fuera su propio dinero en riesgo?

Oferta de lanzamiento completo y final

The offer to release the insured from liability must be an offer of a full and final release. Trinity Universal Ins. Co. v. Bleeker, 966 SW2d 489 (Tex.1998). Esto significa que la carta debe aclarar que todo embargos del hospital y reclamaciones de subrogación de seguro se están resolviendo fuera de los límites de la política. De lo contrario, no ha liberado realmente al acusado de responsabilidad.

Borrar los términos de aceptación del acuerdo y el período razonable para evaluar

If the terms of how to accept the settlement are not clear, the demand may well not be valid. So, the letter should specify exactly how much is to be paid and when the deadline to pay is. Furthermore, it needs to lay out that all hospital liens and subrogation claims have either been settled (with proof) or provide clear evidence they will be resolved out of the proceeds. (Practice Tip: We often do this by stating that as a part of the agreement we will negotiate any and all liens and subrogation claims and provide the defense with drafting instructions so that they can pay same directly out of the proceeds.)

Recolectando el excedente de veredicto contra la aseguradora que sopló la demanda de Stowers

Para tener el derecho legal de cobrar el veredicto en exceso contra la aseguradora, primero debe tomar una sentencia excedente contra su asegurado. Después de que se toma el veredicto, debes buscar una orden de entrega del demandado. Esto es esencialmente un procedimiento de cobro de sentencia por el cual el Tribunal ordena al acusado que entregue su acción contra su propia compañía de seguros para reclamar contra la compañía de seguros por negligencia en el pago de la reclamación cuando se le da la oportunidad.

Una vez que los derechos de las aseguradoras se entregan al demandante, el demandante se coloca en el lugar del acusado. Él o ella ahora puede demandar a la compañía de seguros por negligencia, así como violaciones del código de seguro, incluidos los daños triples.

¿Qué sucede cuando la aseguradora acepta la demanda de Stowers?

Una vez que la demanda es aceptada por la compañía de seguros, el reclamo se liquida por el monto indicado en la demanda y no se puede mantener ninguna otra acción contra el asegurado o la compañía de seguros en relación con el reclamo por lesiones personales.

Can I Make A Stowers Demand to (“Stowerize”) My Own Insurance Company?

No. La demanda de Stowers solo funciona en seguro de tercero situación. Cuando usted amenaza (según su demanda de Stowers) a emitir un juicio en contra de su asegurado, usted está colocando a la compañía de seguros en una posición de elección para tratar de ahorrarse dinero al poner a su cliente en riesgo de un veredicto excesivo. en un Seguro propio situation (i.e. uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage), you are the insured. You cannot threaten to take an excess verdict against yourself if they refuse to pay the claim. The money is their money to risk, so they may choose to do so without violating any duty to you.

In fact, the Texas Supreme Court has further insulated UIM/UM insurers by holding that they effectively have no duty to negotiate or pay you a dime until you “present” a claim by taking a judgment and having a jury determine exactly how much they owe. As a result, UIM/UM carriers are under no real obligation to treat you fairly.

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